Well, who would have predicted this? Calvin Vlaanderen romped to a clear victory at the Grand Prix of Indonesia, round twelve of the FIM Motocross World Championship, so took quite the step up. Where did this dominant ride come from? Vlaanderen opened up about a career-best performance in an exclusive MX Vice post-race podcast.
MX Vice: I guess you are pretty happy! Your first moto and overall win. That was quite the step up.
Calvin Vlaanderen: Yeah, sure. I did not really expect it coming into this. First moto also had a great start. I was second, and riding second pretty much the whole moto, then just kind of blew the last five minutes and got passed for third. I was also happy with that. Third place is still not bad. The second one, I was fired up before the race. I said to my mechanic, "I feel like a holeshot is coming."
I took the holeshot and when you have a clear track like that it is awesome. You can ride your own lines and you can do your own thing. It was just such a cool feeling to cross the finish line in first and to win your first overall. It is just unbelievable. I was speechless. It has been coming. Since I was three years old, it has been my dream to win a GP and I have finally done it. Such a good feeling.
Is there anything that you can put it down to? Is this a good track for you? I guess long, technical ruts is an area that you excel in?
Yeah, exactly. Coming into the weekend I was not looking forward to it, because of the rain. I was thinking it would be such a mess. Actually the track turned out sick today. The ruts were good. It is kind of like what I saw, the soft ruts. The same like Teutschenthal, deep ruts. It was good. It suited me well today.
I already felt like the first moto was a big step forward for you. At Teutschenthal you could see the leaders, but you were kind of locked in a battle for third, then that first moto you were chasing the leader the whole time and it looked like you got a bit of gassed towards to the end. I was interested to see how you held up in the second race, but it looked like you did not put a foot wrong.
The first race I think Thomas [Covington] was in front. The first half I tried to pass him in a few corners, but then I got into his rhythm like the first three or four laps. I was comfortable with that speed. The speed is no problem. It is just tough for me to go that speed for the whole moto. I am already not really up there from the start. In the other races before I was normally struggling with a bad start. In the second race, I just tried to do my own thing out front like I do in training in the motos. I tried to stay calm, not do anything stupid, no mistakes and it paid off.
Was there a moment where your heart rate spiked and the moment kind of caught up to you? You were like, "Oh shit, I am actually about to win this thing?"
Yeah, I guess three or four laps to go I looked up and I was like, "Okay, there is one minute on the board so I have to go around another three more times." Then the last two laps were just so long. Every single corner I was like, "Just focus, just do your thing." It was just crazy. Each corner trying to think not to do anything stupid, do not crash, and then the team on the pit board were encouraging me. They were staying calm, which helped me stay calm. That helped me obviously get the win.
The bravest thing that I think I saw you do was down pit lane on the last lap you did a little fist pump, which was maybe the toughest part of the track. That even scared me a little bit!
Yeah, I know, but I could not contain what was inside of me. It was crazy. Also I went across the finish line… I do not even remember going back to the podium. The thoughts in your head. It just goes by so fast. Like I said, I am speechless. It is such a cool feeling.
Does this change anything for you? Going into the next round are you going to be looking at it like a podium is okay, but it is time to start winning these things more often?
I guess not. I still see it the same. Going to the race I will do my best every single weekend and every single race. Obviously I want to get on the podium more and more. I am not going to say I am going to win the next round, but I think that this win has given me more confidence and hopefully I can show it in the next rounds coming. I am more motivated now than ever.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Honda Racing Corporation